Sports broadcasting rights in the USA

Sports broadcasting rights in the USA

This page refers to sports broadcasting rights in the USA. For a list of sports broadcasting rights in other countries, see Sports television broadcast contracts.


Major League Baseball

*FOX: 26 Saturday afternoon games; All-Star Game; one League Championship Series*; World Series
*TBS: 26 Sunday afternoon games; regular-season tiebreak games, if needed; Division Series games; one League Championship Series*
*TNT: Division series games not aired on sister network TBS
*ESPN: Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday Night Games ; Opening Day games

* *In 2008, FOX will air the National League Championship Series, while TBS will air the American League Championship Series. These rights will alternate years through 2013.

Additionally, local or regional broadcasters contract with the MLB team in their area for the right to broadcast a number of regular season games locally. These broadcasters can be traditional over-the-air television stations as well as regional cable sports channels. The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox air some of their games on WGN-TV, which has become a superstation, so those games are available nationwide. (A similar arrangement with the Atlanta Braves and TBS expired following the 2007 season.)

Source: MLB Press Release []


National Basketball Association

*ABC: Sunday Afternoon Game ; NBA Finals until 2016
*TNT: Thursday night doubleheader; All-Star Game; Eastern Conference Finals until 2016
*ESPN: Wednesday night game and Friday night doubleheader; Western Conference Finals until 2016
*NBA TV, MOJO HD: Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday night games until 2016

Additionally, local or regional broadcasters contract with the NBA team in their area for the right to broadcast a number of regular season games locally. These broadcasters can be traditional over-the-air television stations as well as regional cable sports channels. WGN, a Chicago-based superstation, broadcasts a limited number of Chicago Bulls regular season games on their national feed, fewer than they provide locally. If ESPN chooses to opt out of airing all of the games on their night, NBA TV airs a game in its place. Games in the first two rounds of the playoffs can be aired by regional broadcasters, unless the national broadcaster has exclusive rights. Games in the first round not selected by national broadcasters are usually broadcast by NBA TV.

Women's National Basketball Association

*ABC: national broadcast contract (Saturday games) until 2016
*ESPN2: selected weeknight games, playoffs, and WNBA Finals until 2016

NCAA Basketball

*CBS: NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament along with selected regular season games.
*ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN Classic: Pre-season and post-season NIT games.
*ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU: NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament.
*Nationally-televised regular-season games appear on ABC, CBS, CBS College Sports Network, ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, FSN, Fox College Sports, Versus, and others.

International Basketball
*ESPN/NBA TV: FIBA World Championship
*Fox/NBA TV: FIBA World Championship for Women
*NBA TV: Euroleague


*Cricket Plus: First ever 24x7 cricket channel in US.
*Zee Sports: shows selected live cricket via Dish Network
*Direct TV and Dish Network offers live cricket broadcast on Pay-per-view.
*Zee Sports: is the official broadcaster of Indian Cricket League in USA.
*Dish Network and Direct TV are the official broadcasters of Indian Premier League in USA.


*Tour de France: Versus/CBS
*UCI ProTour: Versus
*Tour of California: Versus


National Football League
*CBS: AFC Sunday afternoon games; 1 Thanksgiving Day game; 4 AFC playoff games; Super Bowl XLIV (2010); 3 Preseason games.
*FOX: NFC Sunday afternoon games; 1 Thanksgiving Day game; 4 NFC playoff games; Super Bowl XLV (2011); 3 Preseason games.
*NBC: NFL Kickoff game; 16 Sunday night games; 2 wild-card playoff games; Super Bowls XLIII (2009) and XLVI (2012); 3 Preseason games.
*ESPN: 17 Monday night games (Doubleheader Week 1, Singleheader Weeks 2–16); 4 Preseason games
*NFL Network: 8 late-season NFL games (starting Thanksgiving) on Thursday and/or Saturday Night; 2 Preseason games.
*DirecTV: NFL Sunday Ticket - Pay-per-view rights to all CBS and FOX regular-season games (excluding Thanksgiving games).

*Sunday afternoon Interconference games air on the network of the "visiting" team's conference.
*CBS and FOX each receive 8 single games and nine doubleheaders.
*The network airing a given Super Bowl will also telecast that season's Pro Bowl the following weekend.
*NFL Sunday Ticket pay-per-view games available for out-of-market games only in any given area.

College Football Bowl games

*FOX: Cotton, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar Bowls (2007–2010), plus BCS National Championship Game (2007–2009)
*ABC: Capital One Bowl and Rose Bowl, plus BCS National Championship Game (2010)
*CBS: Sun Bowl and Gator Bowl
*NFL Network: Insight Bowl and Texas Bowl
*All other bowl games air on ESPN, ESPN2, or NFL Network.

Arena football
*Arena Football League: ESPN/ABC will air 26 regular season games and nine postseason games per year through 2011. The 2007 season includes 14 Monday night games on ESPN2, while the Arena Bowl will air on ABC. Select games air on regional stations.


Major League Soccer
*ESPN2: MLS Primetime Thursday, MLS All-Star Game, select playoff games.
*ABC: MLS Cup Final
*Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Español: game of the week (generally Saturday).
*Univision: Spanish language broadcasts on Galavision and Telefutura (generally Sunday).
*HDNet: game of the week, select playoff games.

United Soccer Leagues
*Fox Soccer Channel: game of the week (Fridays)

US Open Cup
*Fox Soccer Channel: Final, other selected matches

Primera División de México
*Univision, Galavisión, TeleFutura, and Azteca America broadcast the top Division of Mexican Soccer in the USA.

2006 FIFA World Cup
*English-language: ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
*Spanish-language: Univision/TeleFutura
*German-language: Setanta Sports

*2010 FIFA World Cup - CONMEBOL Qualifier: ESPN Deportes

UEFA European Soccer
*UEFA European Football Championship: ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN Classic (English-language); ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language)
*UEFA Champions League: ESPN2, ESPN Classic ESPN Deportes (Spanish) and Setanta Sports North America

English Club Soccer
*Premier League: Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports North America
*Football League Championship: Setanta Sports North America
*FA Cup: Fox Soccer Channel
*Carling Cup: Setanta Sports North America
*Blue Square Premier: Setanta Sports North America (Playoffs only)

Other Soccer

*2007 Copa America: Univision/TeleFutura/Galavisión (Spanish-language) and GolTV (English language)
*CONCACAF Champions' Cup 2007: Fox Soccer Channel
*2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup: Fox Soccer Channel (English-language); Univision/TeleFutura/Galavisión (Spanish-language)
*Serie A: Fox Soccer Channel (English-language) and Fox Sports en Español (Spanish-language)
*Primera División Argentina: Fox Soccer Channel (English-language); Fox Sports en Español and TyC Sports (Spanish-language)
*German Bundesliga: GolTV
*Spanish Primera Liga: GolTV

Football (other)

Australian rules football
*Australian Rules Football: Setanta Sports North America airs one live game per week, plus playoffs and the AFL Grand Final.

Canadian football
*Canadian Football League: America One broadcasts three live games a week, plus all playoff games and the Grey Cup.

Gaelic football
*All-Ireland Senior Football Championship: Setanta Sports North America airs approximately 25 games per season.

Rugby league
* Setanta Sports North America airs matches from the world's two main leagues:
** National Rugby League (Australia, with one team in New Zealand)
** Super League (England, with one team in France)

Rugby union
* Setanta Sports North America has rights to the following competitions:
** Rugby World Cup
** Six Nations (European national teams)
** Tri Nations (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa national teams)
** Heineken Cup (European clubs)
** Super 14 (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa franchises)
** Guinness Premiership (English clubs)
** Magners League (Ireland, Scotland, Wales franchises)
** EDF Energy Cup (knockout cup competition involving Guinness Premiership and Welsh Magners League sides)
** Currie Cup (South African provinces)
** Air New Zealand Cup (New Zealand provinces)
* Versus airs the USA Sevens in the sevens variant of rugby union.



*The Players Championship - Golf Channel/NBC
*The Masters - ESPN/CBS
*U.S. Open - ESPN/NBC
*British Open - TNT/ABC
*PGA Championship - TNT/CBS
*Ryder Cup - ESPN/NBC
*Other PGA Tour coverage - CBS, NBC, The Golf Channel


*Kraft Nabisco Championship (formerly Dinah Shore): ESPN2/ABC
*LPGA Championship: Golf Channel/CBS
*U.S. Women's Open: ESPN2/NBC
*Women's British Open: TNT/ABC
*Solheim Cup and other LPGA events: Golf Channel


National Hockey League

*Versus: One to three regular-season games/week, All-Star Game, playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals (games 1–2) until 2008
*NBC: Sunday afternoon late-season games, weekend afternoon playoff games and Stanley Cup Finals (games 3–7) until 2008
*HDNet: Thursday and Saturday Night Games until 2008
*NHL Network: Wednesday, Friday and occasional Sunday games

Additionally, viewers near the Canadian border, especially in the Detroit and Buffalo markets, can view CBC broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada, playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals. CBC reaches most cable subscribers in Michigan and the Buffalo area, and CBC broadcasts of NHL playoff games often get better ratings in those markets than the simultaneous American broadcast when both are available.

Local or regional broadcasters contract with the NHL team in their area for the right to broadcast a number of regular season games locally. These broadcasters can be traditional over-the-air television stations as well as regional cable sports channels. While the Chicago Blackhawks will be broadcasting games on WGN-TV beginning in autumn 2008, these games will not be available for the WGN America feed due to league broadcast regulations.

The following regional stations have playoff contracts in the United States when the corresponding team is participating, regardless of the round:

*NESN-Boston Bruins
*MSG-New York Rangers

NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship: ESPNU (Regional Semifinals/Finals), ESPN2 (National Semifinals), ESPN (National Championship)

Horse Racing

U.S. Triple Crown:

*Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes: NBC
*Belmont Stakes: ABC
*Breeders' Cup: ESPN/ESPN2Other Races:
*Hambletonian & Hambletonian Oaks: NBC
*Virginia Derby: CBS


Major League Lacrosse

*ESPN2: 9 Games of the Week, All-Star Game, and New Balance Championship.

NCAA lacrosse

*ESPN2: NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship: ESPN2 (Semifinals); ESPN (Final)NCAA
*CBS College Sports Network: NCAA Men's Division II and III Finals and NCAA Women's Division I, II and III Finals
*Nationally-televised regular-season games appear on CBS College Sports Network, Fox College Sports and ESPNU.

Motor sports


*Sprint Cup:
**FOX: races #1 (Daytona 500) through 13; Bud Shootout
**TNT: races #14–19
**ESPN: races #20–25
**ABC: races #26–36
**SPEED: Gatorade Duel and All-Star Challenge (non-points events)
*Nationwide Series: All races on ESPN2, except for two on ESPN and four on ABC
*Craftsman Truck Series: All races on SPEED, except for two on FOX

Other auto racing series

*IRL IndyCar Series:
** Current (2008) contract: all races on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
** Beginning 2009: ABC will continue to air the Indianapolis 500 and 4 other races TBA (through 2012); 13 races on Versus (through 2018)
*Formula One: SPEED broadcasts 14 live races, plus qualifying and Friday practice sessions; FOX airs 4 races (2 live, 2 on tape-delay)
*American Le Mans Series: 3 races on ABC, 2 on NBC, 7 on SPEED
*National Hot Rod Association: All Powerade and Lucas Oil Series events air on ESPN2
*Supercross: CBS/SPEED
*A1 Grand Prix: SPEED

Olympic Games

NBC has broadcast rights through the 2012 Summer Games. Events also appear on NBC's sister networks CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Oxygen, Telemundo (in Spanish) and Universal HD.

*IAAF World Championships in Athletics: NBC, Versus


*Australian Open: ESPN2/The Tennis Channel
*French Open: ESPN2/The Tennis Channel/NBC
*Wimbledon: ESPN2/NBC
*US Open: USA/CBS (ESPN2 to replace USA beginning in 2009)
*United States Davis Cup Team: Versus
*Davis Cup: The Tennis Channel
*Fed Cup: The Tennis Channel
*Tennis Masters Cup: ESPN2/The Tennis Channel (Doubles matches)
*WTA Tour Championships: Versus/The Tennis Channel (Doubles matches)


*Association of Volleyball Professionals: FSN, with some events on FOX, NBC and MyNetworkTV.
*US Figure Skating Championships: NBC
*World Equestrian Games: NBC
*America's Cup: Versus
*Professional Bowlers Association: ESPN

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